Agents' Summary of Business Conditions - February 2011

We regularly publish a summary of reports compiled by our twelve regional Agents following discussions with at least 700 businesses across the UK every reporting period.
Published on 22 February 2011
  • Retail sales continued to grow, albeit moderately, with some recovery of spending that had been lost as a result of the bad weather.
  • The Agents’ score for annual growth in turnover for consumer services had slipped further, despite the improvement in the weather in January.
  • Activity in the housing market remained subdued, and prices continued to fall.
  • Investment intentions had risen again on the month, with a few more reports of plans to increase capacity.
  • The annual growth rate of goods export values rose further still, helped by world demand and past declines in sterling.
  • There had been modest growth in services turnover, but there was still some downward pressure on fees for professional and financial services.
  • Manufacturing output growth had also risen somewhat, probably reflecting robust overseas demand.
  • Activity in the construction sector had been disrupted by the weather. Underlying activity was thought to be broadly similar to the level a year earlier.
  • Large firms reported that credit was available, but small firms continued to face difficulties in securing loans.
  • Employment intentions pointed to modest growth in jobs in the private sector over the next six months.
  • According to contacts, capacity utilisation was around normal in manufacturing, while there was rather more spare capacity in services.
  • Labour costs were growing at a moderate pace on a year earlier, reflecting both improvements in productivity, but also some degree of recognition of past inflation.
  • Flooding in Australia had caused further increases in the prices of some raw materials.
  • Some of the past increase in the cost of raw materials had been passed on in manufacturing output prices.
  • The annual rate of consumer goods and services inflation remained elevated.


PDFAgents' summary of business conditions - February 2011

This page was last updated 31 January 2023